RAID is an acronym which should be at the forefront of your mind if you are a project manager or a program manager. RAID stands for Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies.
The acronym can help you to remember to give appropriate attention to each area. In my own personal experience, I know that I have a tendency to give ample attention to risks and risk management but can overlook assumptions, so reminding myself of the RAID acronym daily, so as not to overlook any of these areas comes in very handy.
Below you’ll find a quick recap of Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies. Each has been covered before on Expert Program Management (especially Risks – I told you I was biased towards this area 😉 ) and a link to that section has been provided if you need more detailed information.
A risk is any specific event which might occur and thus have a negative impact on your project or program. Each risk will have an associated probability of occurrence along with an impact on your project if it does materialize. An example of a risk might be that a change in legislation to tax law could mean you will have to redo some of your project and this will impact the schedule by x and cost y. As project manager it is your responsibility to ensure a Risk Management Process is undertaken, managing and mitigating risks, along with ensuring risks are routinely and effectively communicated with your stakeholders.
An assumption is something we set as true to enable us to proceed with our project or program. Typically this happens during the planning and estimation phase of the project. As an example of an assumption, during the early planning phase we might assume that we have access to 10 skilled specialists throughout the entire duration of the project. By making this assumption it enables us to produce our plan. If this assumption turns out to be false then the project is negatively impacted. Because assumptions can turn out to be false and impact your project adversely, it is your responsibility as project manager to monitor and manage all assumptions so minimal impact to the project occurs.
An issue is anything which arises on your project which you have to deal with in order to ensure your project runs smoothly. Issues differ from risks in that they exist as a problem today, unlike risks which might turn into issues in the future. An example of an issue might be that a key project resource as called in ill, and is unlikely to attend the office for the remainder of the week. Issues need to be managed through the Issue Management Process.
A dependency exists when an output from one piece of work or project is needed as mandatory input for another project or piece of work. An example of a dependency in a building project might be that the architectural diagrams need to be complete before the foundations can be laid. Managing inter-dependencies is critical to ensuring projects, regardless of their size, run smoothly. As project and program managers it is your responsibility to record, monitor, and manage these dependencies.
I’m sure you’re all familiar with Risks, Assumptions, Issues, and Dependencies, but may not have come across the acronym RAID before, which can serve as an aide-memorie to give appropriate attention to each area. Links to the relevant posts have been provided if you need to refresh your memory on any of the areas which make up the RAID acronym.